« AnkstesnisTęsti »
their cousins know and care nothing about their
The quality of mercy and its substance, whether that be money, old clothes or cold victuals, is much more apt to bless those who give than those who take, unless there be personal sympathy given with it. The poorest beggar takes mere alms with a sullen sense of injustice. If our conscientious friend, and our readers who are of her persuasion, would contrive to turn the alms given from their household into wages, and their homilies into sympathy, the coming winter would not prove so prolific in wellfed tramps and starving tradesmen.
threshold without feeling that he has drawn nearer to the sun, and has been there royally warmed and fed.
Don't Give up the Garden!
IF, as the illustrious Verulam asserts, a garden be "the greatest refreshment to the spirits of man," one would naturally conclude that the refreshment ought to be available when most needed; namely, in the fierce midsummer heats. But how few gardens do we find in full beauty in July and August? Most people give up their gardens about this time; others hold on pretty well until the first light frosts, when they seem to think that all is over, and retire from the field. I have a garden in my mind's eye that belongs to one of these Fainthearts; it was trim and gay in April, gorgeous in June; but toward the middle of July there was a perceptible falling-off. Flowers were allowed to go to seed, the grass was not cut often enough, and weeds began to show their heads; and in October, if I had not watched the rise and fall of this floral empire, I should not have suspected that there had been even an attempt at floriculture in the vicinity. Less than a mile from this ruined Eden lies a garden that is attractive for nine months in the year. This is the beloved domain of a born gardener-an Eve, who smilingly says, pointing to her floral treasures, "I have got back to Paradise." When asked the secret of her success she replied: "I work a little in my garden every day. Flowers are like children—to thrive they must have constant and loving care." I went to see my Eve one day last fall after the frost had set in. I found her in the garden, shears in hand, clipping off frosted flowers; here and there a tender plant had been killed, but most of the flowers looked as bright as in June. Many flowers will bear a good deal of frost, and if the injured ones are removed the garden may be kept presentable quite into the edge There are other kinds of charity which are much of winter; especially if there be a goodly collection more helpful than money-giving, and are frequently of chrysanthemums, and a reserve of pansies in the practicable by those who have least money to give. cold-frame or seed-bed. Pansies for late-blooming There is influence; the personal trouble required to should be sown in June, and the flowering retarded write a letter or to make a call, in order to find by removing the buds; then they will burst forth pupils for the poor visiting governess, or more work with wonderful beauty in the cool autumn weather, for the cobbler, or a better position on the railroad and will endure considerable frost; though it is best for the young fellow across the way who supports to protect them at night. After even these hardy his mother and sisters. There is the magazine blooms have succumbed, much may be done to facilicarefully saved and forwarded to the poor teacher tate spring work. New beds should always be laid among the hills who cannot afford a subscription; out in the fall; especially where sod is to be moved, there is the glimpse of town given to the country for, if it is turned under, it will rot during the wincousins, the fortnight at the sea-shore for the seam- ter, and so make the best of flower-food. Then the stress and her pale little baby. There is the invita- hardy bulbs must not be forgotten. Tulips should tion now and then, and the hearty welcome always, be more generally planted than they are; the price to the lads alone in the great city who know only (fifty cents per dozen for mixed varieties) brings our own family; in short, the giving of trouble them within the reach of all. A neighbor last fall and sympathy, not money, to those who need help. was induced by my representations to invest a small Some few women have that witch-hazel power sum in Parrot tulips, and this spring her little garwhich enables them to find out the human nature in den-plot was the show-place of the country-side. their cook or washerwoman, as well as in the people A fine Parrot tulip, to him who sees it for the first they receive in their drawing-rooms. Such women time, must indeed be a revelation. Many kinds of are benefactors, though they should never be worth annuals do best when sown in the fall. Lists of seeds a dollar of ready money; and however cheap their for fall sowing may be found in the floral catalogues, house or poor their table, nobody can cross their ❘ but I have never seen either petunias or verbenas in
these lists; yet both will seed themselves, and all flowers that do this may be safely planted in the fall. My verbenas last year were all from self-sown seed, and they were never more varied and beautiful. There was a good assortment of the verbena colors, with fine, large trusses of bloom, and they were delightfully fragrant besides. They are not constant, however, and new seed should be procured frequently from some reliable florist, and this should be started in the hot-bed, for florists' seed is often several years old, and will not always germinate readily. It is a good plan to have verbenas succeed hardy bulbs; treated in this way they are very little trouble, and there is no hurry about getting them into bloom, if one has even a small collection of good perennials. They come along in time to take the place of the Sweet Williams, columbines, pinks, lilies, and June roses. Yonder in the grassplot are three circular beds that have sown themselves for several years in succession. One is a bed of Drummond phlox; one contains petunias, and the other verbenas. They are always covered in the fall with their own growths, and sometimes leaves are added. Early in the spring the covering is removed, and a dressing of leaf-mold from the woods is applied; then they are protected by light brush and left to sun and shower.
When the seedlings come up they will generally require thinning and a little arrangement, as they will not be always evenly distributed over the beds. Borders of white candytuft are very pretty for beds set in the green grass; but it must not be sown too soon, as it blooms early and does not last long. These beds require renovating once in three or four years. I dug up one of mine this spring, and the excavation we made was so considerable, that it attracted general observation. Opinions were divided on the subject. One neighbor feelingly inquired if we were digging a grave. Some thought we must be going to build a cave or an icehouse; another suggested a grasshopper-trap; but that it was nothing but a posy-bed nobody would believe.
To Polish Wood.
GIVE it to a regular furniture polisher. This is the best way, and the one most likely to give entire satisfaction.
If you wish to undertake the polishing yourself, you will need the following articles: a great deal of patience; a steady hand; some sweet oil; some old linen; a little cotton wool; alcohol; sand-paper; and a little shellac (dark or light, according to your wood) dissolved in alcohol.
I am aware that this last item is rather vaguely defined, but how can I help it? It is impossible to tell the exact proportions of the ingredients in some mixtures. There are "gems" for instance-not precious stones, but the bread known under that name.
My cook asks me how to make them, and I tell her to stir into a pint of milk, flour enough to make a thin batter, such as would be suitable for griddle cakes; and to have her molds hot when she pours it in. Away she goes and does it, and such blotchy, flabby, heavy things as come out of those molds! She says she did not know when the batter was right. Why, it is the simplest thing! I never have the least trouble with them. I stir the flour into the milk until it is thick enough; I know the exact moment. I pour that batter into the molds, and the lightest and most delicate cakes are turned out of them. You can almost blow them away with a puff of your breath. My cook looks on with astonished eyes, and declares she did just as I told her, and just as I did. But, of course, she did not. The best plan is to make the shellac tolerably thick, and try it on some refuse wood. If too thick, thin it until it is right.
Happily, the other directions are quite plain, and not to be misunderstood. Make a dabber of the cotton wool, cover it with linen, and tie this firmly. Wet it with the shellac, drop on it a drop of sweet oil, and rub it on the wood with a quick, even pressure, in circles, all over the surface. Be sure
to distribute the polish evenly and quickly, and to give the same amount of rubbing to every part. Continue this wetting and rubbing until the wood begins to reflect. Then you had better stop, to give time for the wood to absorb the polish. The next day you must repeat the process, and the next, and the next, and so on until you are satisfied.
When the polish is sufficiently bright for your fancy, or your back aches too much to continue your work, you must make a fresh dabber, dampen it slightly with alcohol, and rub it softly and evenly over the wood. This will bring out the polish, and "fix" it. But you cannot put on any more polish after using the alcohol.
NASHVILLE, TENN., August 21, 1875, Editor Scribner's Monthly: I have thought somewhat of the uses to which your magazine might be put as the numbers accumulated and remained, good as new, about the house. They had proved such a source of satisfaction, pleasure and instruction to father, mother, two daughters, and four sons, including the writer, the oldest child, to say nothing of our guests, that it was suggested to my mind that something ought to be done with the copies we had. So your advice to "burn" the old numbers was only needed to set me to work. I gathered together twelve consecutive issues, taking pains to mark what you said under "Burn your Magazines" in one of them, and then set them afire; that is, I gave them to a young laboring man to show his wife and children, all of whom, he assures me, enjoyed the reading and illustrations hugely. After they had consumed the magazines they turned them over to a neighbor, who followed suit. These copies have now passed through ten families, and been read by about seventy people, and are amazingly well preserved, considering the burning they have had. Very truly yours, J. L.
CULTURE AND PROGRESS.
Caton's "Summer in Norway."*
MR. CATON is not our ideal traveler, but he possesses some of those qualities which an ideal traveler could least of all afford to dispense with. He is an excellent observer, and his interest in the scenes he describes is singularly sincere and unaffected. His practical intelligence, unobscured by learned prejudice, acts as an excellent reflector, representing the objects as they are, with the faintest imaginable tinge of individual coloring. A book of travel of this description is, naturally enough, not quite so entertaining as it would have been if the author had dispensed his colors with a more lavish brush; but where the Horatian utile dulci is beyond realization, we would far rather renounce the superficial æsthetic pleasures of reading, if, as in the present case, we are to gain in exchange this supreme confidence in the author's strict adherence to fact. And we appreciate this feature the more, because Norway has actually suffered so much in the past from the exaggerations and misstatements of hasty travelers, that it is well if we may now at last acquire some reliable knowledge concerning the national character, and the industries and institutions of the country.
Some thirty or forty years ago Harriet Martineau, probably with the very best intention, wrote her "Feats on the Fjord," in which she handled the legends and traditions of the Norwegians with a poetic nonchalance which did more honor to her imagination than to her truthfulness; for even legends have their laws, which cannot be violated with impunity. The Norwegian peasants were by her represented as a chatty, nimble, and sentimental race, demonstrative in their emotions, and with choicely polished phrases always on their tongues' ends. Since then English sportsmen have annually made their debut in literature by fantastically inaccurate extracts from the Norse Sagas, intermingled with strange popular legends and personal adventures, until at length it has become well-nigh a tradition that every aspirant for literary laurels who is too shallow-brained to produce anything of independent merit, may, by indulging his unbridled fancy during a summer's sojourn in Norway, gain an enviable distinction at his club, and moreover add to his name a faint aroma of authorship. The result of all this extravagant scribbling is, that Norway is to-day far less known, and more unfavorably known, than it deserves to be, and that regarding the national habits and characteristics, the most contradictory opinions find their way into our political
A Summer in Norway. With Notes on the Industries, Habits. Customs, and Peculiarities of the People; the History and Institutions of the Country, its Climate, Topography, and Productions. Also an Account of the Red Deer, Reindeer, and Elk. By John Dean Caton, LL.D., Ex-Chief-Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois. Chicago: Jansen, McClurg & Co.
papers, magazines, and even into the text-books used in our schools.
Mr. Caton has evidently no theory to support about the peculiarities of Goth and Gaul, and, judging from the straightforward and unphilosophical way in which he relates what he saw and heard, we should say that he has never read Taine. He saw no drunkenness in Norway, he says, although he traveled from one end of the country to the other. He is clearly not aware that the Goth, from immemorial times, has got drunk, and that it must have been a deficiency in his eyesight if he did not discover that the Norwegians were drunk when he saw them. Again, at the country inns, where he and his party spent the nights, they had clean bed-linen, and the inhabitants whom they visited, with the exception of the Lapps, did not show any constitutional aversion to soap and water. Another lapsus lingua; the uncivilized Goth has never been remarkable for cleanliness.
These statements, however, are very easily reconcilable with the accounts of Bayard Taylor and other travelers, whose observations seem to point in the opposite direction. It is a world-old tradition among the Norwegian peasantry that at weddings, funerals, and family festivals, it is quite respectable to be drunk; and at the fishing seasons, when great numbers of peasants are huddled together in miserable little sheds, and suffer from cold and wet, vast quantities of brandy are consumed; but, nevertheless, drunkenness is even then rare. The same observation was made some twenty years ago by Mr. Charles Loring Brace, whose book, "The Norse-Folk," is one of the best descriptions of Norway which we have ever read.
We have praised Mr. Caton's conscientious avoidance of hasty generalizations; but, in spite of his good intentions, his book is not altogether free from blemishes. On page 289, for instance, he speaks of fast and slow stations, translating the Norwegian adjective fast by its English cognate; the Norse word, however, is only equivalent to the English in the sense of fixed, and can never mean rapid. Again, he interprets the Norwegian adverb saa as meaning assent or approval, while, like the German sø, it is merely expressive of attention, and indicates that the person addressed is listening. Once, during a ramble along the Alten River, the author comes across a monument of that class which the natives call a Bautasten, and here indulges in a vague historical reverie which shows his ignorance of the actual historical facts. We should, on the whole, wish that Mr. Caton had contented himself with Norway of to-day, which he saw and knew, without essaying an ambitious flight into the remote Saga world. His historical notes are full of errors, and their inaccuracy mars an otherwise valuable record of travel.
"Mohammed and Mohammedanism."'*
AMONG the traditions of a New England college is one which may serve as a text wherewith to introduce our notice of this interesting volume. The story is to this effect. It was the custom of the college to require attendance at the religious services in its chapel, except in the case of students who had conscientious preferences for some other denomination than that to which the college church belonged. Such students were permitted to select some church of their own denomination, where they were expected regularly to attend. But, to the great perplexity of the college authorities, upon the entrance of a certain new class, one of its members avowed himself a Moslem; and, as the quiet college town, though abundantly supplied with churches of almost every Christian name, contained no mosque, the young man's religious privileges were seriously curtailed.
divinity is largely proved by its fitness to succeed, and by its actual successes, among all nations and kindreds and tongues. And it is a strange misconception of its genius and spirit to suppose that such a compromise or such a partnership as Mr. Smith suggests is for a moment possible to it.
Moreover, Mr. Smith is not fortunate in his assertions concerning the excellencies of Mohammedanism in practice. He has to resort, for example, to some special pleading, in an appendix, to defend Mohammedanism in Africa against the damaging testimony of Dr. Livingstone. Since then we have had Livingstone's "Last Journals," in which is additional testimony more serious and damaging than ever. It is hard to put confidence in his assertions of fact which have no personal observation to justify them, and which, in some instances, require special explanation, and some fervor of advocacy, to
make them seem to stand.
And yet there is something to be said on Mr. Smith's side. It happened years ago to the writer of this criticism to come upon a Mohammedan mosque in the remote Chinese city of Foo-chow. After a day spent among Buddhist temples, with their innumerable images, and in dirty streets and noisome alleys of the crowded city, it was an immense relief to come suddenly into the quiet and cleanliness of this mosque. There were no images; there was (comparatively) no dirt. The legends written on the walls spoke of the Unity of God. The calm and dignified old Tartar in charge of the place, recognizing us as Christians, claimed fellowship with us, as, in a sense, co-religionists. Nor were we any way unwilling to admit the claim and to
atmosphere to breathe than that of polytheism.
Mr. Smith's book is very readable; and the Messrs. Harper have greatly added to the value of it by giving in an appendix Mr. Emanuel Deutsch's famous "Quarterly Review" article on Islam.
But, if Mr. Bosworth Smith had been a resident rector near the college, it would seem that the disciple of Mohammed might have attended on his ministry without just ground of complaint or fear of offended prejudices. For the estimate in which Mr. Smith holds the Arab prophet is so lofty, and his apology comes so near to being a eulogy, that it is at times a little difficult to see what more he would claim for Mohammedanism if he were writing as one of "the faithful," instead of as an unbeliever; and the noteworthy fact about it is that his enthusiasm seems spontaneous and disinterested. Apparently, it is not because he is a student of the Arabic literature in its original, nor because he has been an observer of practical Mohammedanism in lands where it has become a prevalent religious faith, that his estimate of it is so high; but rather, having taken up his sub-reciprocate the fellowship. It was a purer spiritual ject as one likely to be interesting, and one to which there is a side which has been insufficiently heard by Christian audiences, he glows with the fervor of his advocacy, and his enthusiasm "grows by going." We are forced to the conviction that it has grown unduly. And, indeed (if it be not too severe a criticism), Mr. Smith's enthusiasm for Mohammedanism seems to have grown at the cost of his admiration for Christianity. We may admit the study of "comparative theology," and of "the science of religion" to be a legitimate scientific study; but when we are asked to concede the improbability "that Islam will ever give way to Christianity in the East, however much we may desire it, and whatever good would result to the world," or that Mohammedanism is "perhaps the nearest approach to Christianity which the unprogressive part of humanity can ever attain in masses,”- -we are asked to leave out of sight, in our scientific study, an essential characteristic of Christianity. For, while it is, in its spirit, tolerant of other religions, and while its master claims to have "other sheep that are not of this fold,"-yet it promises to be the universal religion, and claims more, a great deal, for itself, than a primacy inter pares, or a restriction of itself to the "progressive part of humanity." Its
*Mohammed and Mohammedanism. By R. Bosworth Smith. New York: Harper & Brother.
GAUTIER had a captivating way of throwing himself into harmony with a new landscape, of getting from an old view new lights and tints. He was both poet and painter, and these two books on lands that lie at the two extremities of Europe, are models in the line of rapid, sketchy travel. They belong strictly to these modern times when the Correspondent flourishes, but their want of depth is made up by Gautier's sympathetic nature, his marvelous sensitiveness to color, and unequaled ability to flash picture after picture before the reader's eyes, all at their most favorable point of vantage. He never nods; all is brisk life, hurry, and joyousness. In the Russian book we get, in the midst of a longsweeping sleigh journey over snowy steppes, a sudden photograph. It is only a beautiful young Jewess in rags in some squalid Polish town, but the hand that drew her was masterly in its own way, and the picture remains.
* A Winter in Russia. Translated by M. M. Ripley.-Constantinople. Translated by R. H. Gould from the French of Théophile Gautier. New York: H. Holt & Co.
Nadal's "Impressions of London Social Life." *
THE leading sketches in this volume won recognition upon their first appearance in the magazines, not only for the correctness of their descriptions, but because they showed the touch of a new hand in our literature. In their present form, the reader
will, we think, be more than ever impressed by the qualities which first attracted him.
If we should say that Mr. Nadal's book bore the same relation to Emerson's "English Traits" that the study of the landscape gardening of England bears to the study of its geology, we should give, doubtless, a false idea of Mr. Nadal's book, which, while dealing in a discursive and very amusing man. ner with the surface of things, does not fail also to go occasionally to the very foundations. If in one chapter we are treated to a most graphic and entertaining account of the Dancing School in Tavistock Square, in others we find some of the most profound observations upon English life and character which have been made by any American.
In Hawthorne's "Our Old Home" we are aware of a subtile (and not unnatural) assumption of spiritual superiority-a tone which was doubtless aggravated by the peculiar state of the author's mind-the bitter melancholy of a high and tender nature-at the time (during the war) when the book was in the making. The present author does not betray a tone like this, but certainly he does not seem to be troubled by any painful sense of inferiority in the presence of the mighty and the immemorial. There is no assurance; but, also, there is nothing that can disturb the writer's critical temper. On the other hand, whatever faults of style or treatment one might detect, it would be easy to refer to a literary modesty which prevents a proper self-appreciation. We sometimes feel that our author has not made the most of his sentence; sometimes that he has not done justice to himself in the treatment of his subject.
We speak of the new touch that is recognizable in Mr. Nadal's writings. If we say that he reminds us of Charles Lamb, or of Thackeray, we only mean that here is a writer, altogether original, who has a charm of style, not borrowed from those masters, but legitimately inherited. He has, too, an esprit which will suggest the French, and is fortunate in having escaped influences which have given to some of our younger writers a self-conscious, microscopic habit, of whose hinderance they must themselves be sometimes keenly aware. And yet the self-consciousness of the book is one of its charms. There
is a naïveté which is not the original, genuine article; nor is it, on the other hand, a matter of affectation. It is this literary naïveté which our author so skillfully makes use of. Take, for instance, this from the chapter on "Childhood and English Tradition : " "How ready is an American to greet in England any realization of these dreams of his childhood! With what pleased recognition does he exclaim:
* Impressions of London Social Life, with Other Papers suggested by an English Residence. By E. S. Nadal. London: Macmillan & Co. New York: Scribner, Armstrong & Co.
'Oh, this is you!' and 'I have heard of you before.' I once went upon a visit to a friend of mine, who was an officer in a yeomanry regiment, at that time mustering in a town in one of the western shires of England. The colonel, to whom I was introduced, had been a younger son, had gone into the army, and been to India. But he had come into his property, and was now a country squire, with a large family and handsome fortune. I at once recognized the kind of man. They said he had eleven daughters. (What a fine old English sound they have!) During the mess dinner the regimental band played from a hall adjoining. The colonel, who had put me next him, said, 'I wanted to see if the band could play "Yankee Doodle," but I find they don't know it.' 'How good of you!' I exclaimed, deprecating the mention of such a distinction. 'Yes, yes,' he answered, with the determined manner of one who, though now an old rustic, perhaps, had yet, in his youth, seen something of the world, and knew how things should be done, I believe in every honor for the diplomatists.' As I sat there listening to his honest talk, my mood grew strangely friendly. Should war's dread blast against them blow,' I felt that I wished to be ranged on the side of the kind colonel and his eleven daughters."
The British swell is analyzed in these pages with great cleverness. "When in England," the author writes, "I saw that a swell, so soon as he perceives that his distinctions do not pay, relinquishes them. It will be seen that these distinctions appeal for admiration to persons in a certain middle condition of education. Those who appreciate such graces to the full must be somewhat civilized, and yet some. what immature. A degree of impressibility in the men who look on is the condition of the exercise of the swell's talent. What sort of impression would insouciance make upon a hungry tiger? Nor would it impress an educated and acute man who insists upon submitting reverie to the test of definition and criticism. It is to the shop-boy, and the writer for the spring annual, that such graces appeal."
Americans who suffer severely from the effect of these graces when brought to bear upon themselves, and who find a sweet solace in the critical pages of Emerson, Hawthorne, and Lowell, will delight in many such wittily philosophical passages as the above; but they will, too, find some bitter in their cup of rejoicing, for the author does not spare Amer. ican any more than English character. The word bitter is, however, not well chosen, for we fail to find bitterness here. The criticism throughout is good-natured, though penetrating, and the author purposely refrains from writing about the disagreeable people whom he had the misfortune to meet.
Perhaps the most timely word in Mr. Nadal's book is his view of "English and American Newspaper-Writing." We think that newspaper men of the more intelligent class will read this paper with interest, and be glad to give its statements currency. It is the faith of many newspapers, he says, that the people do not like sense and information; that they prefer nonsense or commonplace which has the appearance of originality. Our author thinks, on the contrary,